The Great Dogfight
During my friends' baby shower which was hosted at her dad's hangar, we heard news that our other friend's dad had completed restoring an original Mitsubishi A6M fighter aircraft also known as "Zero-Sen". The pilot photographed below, Kazuaki Yanagida, helped restore the second original Zero-sen in the world, which was found in the southern region of Japan in Kyushu near Kagoshima. Another interesting story about Kazuaki is that he's flown the famous Hayao Miyazaki, creator of some the most timeless Japanese animated films of the century. If you're not familiar with his work you have to definitely check out my favorite Studio Ghibli film, Porco Rosso (紅の豚) which is story plotted in Milan about war planes, air pirates and good ol' dog fights and like all of Miyazaki's films, ends with a important life lesson. Since watching that film many years ago, I've always had a fondness for World War planes and military aesthetic of the 1930's -50's. The story behind the Zero-sen has always been two-sided, a sense of pride and nationalism and the contrasting side with a deep-seated animosity. But with many decades that have passed, Americans and Japanese people are more united than ever and that animosity slowly disappears and respect for each others' cultures fills in the gap. It's important to keep artifacts of history alive such as this Zero-sen to remind ourselves where we came from and how far we've gone in the progression of humanity.